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Kuala Lumpur - unbearable beauty - itinerery (part 2)


Would you ever wish to arrive in a place called 'dirty estuary'? Somehow we are pretty certain that you wouldn't. Truth me told, it doesn't sound too appealing. However, when you say 'Kuala Lumpur' things begin sounding somewhat exotic to our western earsi and all of the sudden the idea of going to the capital of Malaysia does not seem to be so horrible, and after our friends, family members and acquaitances who were already there start showing us photographs, the magic begins to worki. We cannot imagine anymore not wanting to visit that city.  


kl2-4Yes, in the  previous part of this itinerery in which we tried to present you one dark but nevertheless realistic side of Kuala Lumpur, we promised to present you its more appealing aspect because of which not only you will wish to go there but also return some day. It is sufficient that in that same taxi in which you are struggling to establish communication with the driver you slowly slide into the city and look around. The sight you will see already next to the freeway itself is simply enchanting. Instead of a boring wasteland usually typical for the environment of the European freeways which, along with the existings speed limit, makes them endlessly boring, those in Kuala Lumpur are surrounded with the long lines of bougainvillea trees that spread further than you eye can see and therefore more remind of carefully thought out screensaver than a place where tin boxes on wheels pass by. As long as your eyes can see, you may observe wonderful pink, orange, purple and white flowers, so evern if you are macho guy and the flora world does not impress you much, it will be difficult for you to stay indiffirent at this sight. 


After you spoiled your eyes with this wonderful image, we recommend you that immediately upon your arrival you head for a massage that will help you relax the stiff muscles tired because of a long trip from a distant part of the world. You may decide upon the already popular Thai one which is loved by many although it can actually be pretty painful, however the writer of these lines would certainly recommend you the classical Malay one. It will cost you a little bit than nothing, and it will enable you the best relaxation that you can possibly imagine. Already at the very beginning you will be astonished by the fact that the ritual of massage begins in such a way that a tiny Malay woman washes your feet in a warm wateri full of fennels of a beautiful smell, which is why the ideas will immediately start flying in your head about the ultimate servility and humility by her race which will provoke you a certain feeling of quilt which will, as a matter of fact, be quickly wiped way by what is coming, and that is - we may sign this immediately - the best massage you've ever got.


Now that eachi muscle in your body is perfectly relaxed, the wisest thing you may do is treat yourself with one of the delicious home foods and then go to bed. On the next morning head towards the place where it all actually started and take a breath of a Malay history- head towards the Merdeka Square. It is the place where on August 31, 1958 a flag by the colonizer, Great Britain, was lowered and the Malaysian one lifted. What will immediately strike you, apart from a huge space that you will see, is the palace by the sultan Abdul Samad, ruler of the Malaysian state Selangor - to which Kuala Lumpur still belongs today - in the time when it was built, between 1894 and 1897. It was designed by the Brit A.C. Norman, and it was inspired by the Moor architecture and Muslim mosques in India. While you're standing on the square and observe it, try to return to the past in your thoughts and imagine the English colonialists right there, in front of you, playing cricket, a sport whose rules are often not understandable even to those who actively participate in it. The Merdeka Square was often used for that purpose. It is unliklely that you will see someone there nowdays with the bat and the ball. Instead of that, you will see a parade of various nations, religions and races that gathered on the square for a tourist sight-seeking. The British colonizer fell, the time for the tourists' colonization has now arrived. 


kl2-5You will inevitably feel the tourist rush if at the late hour - precisely speaking, we're talking about te period after 10:30 p.m. - you head towards the street Jalan Petaling in the China Towni. Let us teach you immediately the information that might be useful someday to you at quizes or at similar places where it is necessary to be familiar with totally useles data - 'jalan' actually means 'street'. All in all, Jalan Petaling is a flee market where you can buy various knick-knacks typical for such places with, of course, lots of bargaining (what it means in a Malay culture has been already explained to you here) and shoving with the tourists and locals. Among those knick-knacks one may find something cute, if you're persistent enough to look, but the best part of it is a whole bunch of spices that you can find in the nearby. Forget about everytihing that you can see at the home store shelves - all that, no matter how exotic sometimes sounds, is only a pale copy of what you can find in Kuala Lumpur. This is a true symphony of smell and taste that brings the consumation of food to a highr level where it no longer comes down only to the object of pure survival but to the mean of an ultimate hedonism. Open your senses and enjoy. 


Same like that, you can pamper your senses of sight and smell going to the Orchid Garden where you will feel as if you got stuck in a fairy tale, or at least in the coulisse of a love novel by a lonely spinster from the end of the 18th century whose books are used today to make dramas thanks to which the sales for nose-blowing handkerchiefs rose up, at least among women. Nevertheless, cinisim aside, one should really be deprived of humaniity not to notice the beauty that surrounds you in the Garden and to remain coldblooded. It is highly possible that you will also be impressed by the aquarium KLCC which contains more than 5.000 tropical fish. What is particularly loved by the lazy ones is a moving track which you can steop on and which will slowly guide you all over the aquairum. You will get a good ego-trip once you realize that you may observe without fear huge man-eating sharks that swim above your head, laughing at them behind the thick armored glass. Stop for a minute and observe well the perfect hydrodynamic shape of these so scary, but so marvellous creatures known by this planet longer than many known by the world today, including those that died out a while ago. An encounter with the sharks is an encounter with the distant past of the world that we call our home in the universe. 


kl2-2A bit marvellous is a also the view from the Petronas towers, once upon the time the tallest ones in the world. From the height of approximately 375 meters you may observe the whole city which will then prostrate itself before you. Then you will be able to see a highly interesting combination of traditional and modern and  you will realize, beter than ever, that you have actually arrived in a place where the eastern tradition meets the western capitalist values which have also been reaching this part of the world. It is precisely for that reason that it is possible in Kuala Lumpur to buy an Indian sari, as well as modern clothers by western fashion designers, eat a traditional Chinese meal, as well as a highly conventional western one, and enjoy the trappings of eastern civilization precisely to a point that you find fun, and then turn towards the western products for, to make things even better, rediculously low prices for our standards. Sometimes life can be really good. 


A question only remains, how good is life to those people who dare walking on the live coal at the specially organized celebrations in the Indian temples. Remember the beginning of this story? Then we told you that the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians dwell in Malaysia.  The writer of these lines had an opportunity to attend one of the celebrations in the Indian temple where she could observe the above mentioned walking on the hot coal from a very close distance. Let's break the doubts to all skeptics and faithless Thomases - yes, those people really walk on a hot coal. Alright, to be fully precise, they run. We're talking about a distance of some twenty meters after which one jumps into a bucket with milk - they say, nothing cools hot feet better. Before that act that actually acts only for a few seconds a long ritual introduction occurs during which the volunteers who decided upon the above mentioned running are fallling into trance. We won't be mean and mention all possible substances that they take along. Nevertheless, what particularly fascinates is the fact that in spite of the fact that you can see svoje with your very eyes the fire that burns and heat that reflects from the live coal they run on, only a few minutes after that act, you won't see any heat scars at the feet of those who ran over that hell.. 


However, no matter how scary it may seem to observe the sights of self-confident Indians running over the burning coal, the most imporessive moment was the one when a young girl who did not fall in a trance that was deep enough tried to run over it. The moment in which her scream could be heard was actually the one in which I could grasp in the best way the truth that Kuala Lumpur carries withini - beauty and pain often arrive in pair. 



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